Not that anyone needs any more suspense tonight, but I’ll be keeping a curious eye on Utah’s election results.
Author: Greg Call
Greg blogged at Times and Seasons from 2003 to 2007. He grew up with seven brothers and sisters in Salt Lake City. He started at Brigham Young University in 1992, then served in the California Ventura Mission from 1993 to 1995. Returning to BYU, he married Cirila Kamm in 1997 and graduated with a philosophy degree in 1998. We then moved to New York City, where he attended Columbia Law School and Cirila finished her degree at CUNY-Hunter College. He completed his JD in 2001, briefly worked for a New York law firm, then took a two-year clerkship with Chief Judge Judith Kaye of the New York Court of Appeals. He lives in Oakland, California, with his family.
Sunday with Prophet Bob
Last night, after helping get the kids to bed, I went to a Bob Dylan concert. Iâ€™ve never been to a rock concert on a Sunday before, but I made an exception for Dylan. Iâ€™ve had to pass up seeing him on several other prior occasions because of finals, work, or because the show was on a Sunday. But I just couldnâ€™t bring myself to miss him again. I donâ€™t regret it.
Stanford Regrets Adding Insult to Injury
I don’t know how I missed this, but apparently during halftime of last week’s Stanford-BYU game, the legenday Stanford Band’s halftime act included five dancers wearing wedding veils — a not-so-subtle dig at the opposing school’s founder. Not to worry, though, the Stanford athletic director issued an apology Monday.
Brigham Young, Frontiersman
In 1940, 20th Century Fox released Brigham Young, an extravagant epic starring Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell, a 29-year-old Vincent Price (as Joseph Smith), and Dean Jagger as the title character. The film’s world premiere was in Salt Lake City, and the studio spared no expense in promoting the film. The stars were flown into Salt Lake, took part in a parade down Main Street, and dined with President Heber J. Grant in the Lion House. The film premiered simultaneously in seven theatres in Salt Lake — unheard of at the time — and each was filled to capacity. When released to the rest of the nation, the title was changed to Brigham Young, Frontiersman, and it did fairly well at the box office. Last year, the film was released for the first time on DVD, with a great commentary by BYU professor James D’Arc, and other interesting features. I watched it last night. There are two distinct threads to the film’s plot: one involving a young, stalwart believer (played by Power) and his gentile sweetheart (played by Darnell); and the other being Brigham’s determination to lead the saints to a safe new home in the aftermath of Joseph’s martyrdom. This latter thread has some interesting wrinkles, as it plays up Brigham’s self-doubt as a prophet. As portrayed by the filmmakers, Brigham is not assured that God is truly on his side until the climactic moment when the seagulls blacken the…
Ivan Karamazov Rebutted
I rarely devote much time to the poetry in the New Yorker. Sad to say, if I don’t recognize the poet’s name or the subject matter doesn’t immediately draw me in, I move on. But this poem from last week’s issue grabbed my attention, and I thought it worth sharing. It was written by Nobel Prize-winning poet Czeslaw Milosz, who passed away three weeks ago. If there is no God, Not everything is permitted to man. He is still his brother’s keeper And is not permitted to sadden his brother, By saying that there is no God. –Czeslaw Milosz (Translated, from the Polish, by the author and Robert Hass)
12 Questions for Rodney Smith, part two
Here is the second half of President Smith’s responses to your questions (for part one, click here). We thank him for his participation and extend our best wishes to both him and Southern Virginia University. 7. If the Church offered to take over SVU and turn it into BYU-Virginia, would the trustees go for it? Or does the institution value its independence from the Church and wish to maintain that independence?
12 Questions for Rodney Smith, part one
We are pleased to present the first half of our 12 Questions for President Rodney Smith of Southern Virginia University (for part two, click here). For more information on President Smith and SVU, click here. 1. What were the driving forces behind the creation of SVU? Truthfully, SVU was created as a matter of inspiration, not to the church or its leaders but to a few very able and faithful members of the church, who saw the need for a university in the LDS tradition in the East. I encourage you to visit campus and you will come to better understand why I can say this without hesitation. Each day I have been here I have witnessed a miracle that responds to a very real challenge. This may sound a bit unlawyerly of me to speak in this manner, but it is true.
Movies About the Afterlife
There have been some particularly heavy discussions here lately, so I thought I’d offer up something ultralight. Now I like books as much as the next person, but I’m not one of you bring-a-book-on-a-date-so-I-have-something-to-read-while-she’s-powdering-her-nose guys. I will, however, admit to viewing some 37 movies in the last six months (according to my Netflix records). Anyway, I was ruminating this morning about the best movies about the afterlife.
Cutting Out Middle Management?
The Deseret News reports a “profound change” coming to Church administration. Beyond the substance of the changes, I find it somewhat interesting that this article centers on statements from a non-PR Church employee speaking at the Sunstone Symposium. Is this more evidence that the early-90s chill is thawing?
Happy Birthday Kaimipono!
Our omni-benevolent admin and blogger extraordinaire, the “seeker after righteousness,” turns 30 today. All the best, Kaimi. I hope you get some time today with Mardell, Sullivan, Kace and Indigo and not just Cravath, Swaine and Moore.
Mormon Punk Rock Pioneer Dies
Arthur “Killer” Kane, the original bassist for the New York Dolls, passed away this week in Los Angeles from leukemia. He had joined the Church in recent years, and according to the New York Times obituary, he worked in his stake’s family history center.
12 Questions for Rodney Smith
Rodney Smith, the president of Southern Virginia University, has agreed to participate in our next installment of 12 Questions. Smith took over as president of SVU in June 2004, after serving at the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law (University of Memphis) as the Interim Dean and Herff Chair of Excellence in Law. Among other positions, he has been a law professor and administrator at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the Capital University Law and Graduate Center, and the University of Montana School of Law. He was also the City Attorney in Bishop, CA for two years. Smith received a Doctorate in Juridical Science from the University of Pennsylvania, and is a graduate of BYU’s law school.
Where is God?
Some of you are probably tired of retellings of conversations with putatively precocious toddlers that are supposed to elicit some great insight or something. If so, I apologize in advance. But last night my 2.5 year old son stumped me pretty well.
A Dynamite Testimony
I’m so grateful that one of our ex-guest-bloggers, greg.org, gratefully took the opportunity to bear his testimony about Napoleon Dynamite, a Rushmore-esque indie film by Mormon writer and director Jared Hess. Check out greg.org’s remarks here.
12 Questions for Sarah Barringer Gordon, part two
Here’s the second half of our dialogue with the esteemed Professor Gordon. [Click here for part one.] I’m sure everyone joins me in thanking her for such intelligent and provocative responses to our questions. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out her landmark book, The Mormon Question. Again, our questions are in bold and her responses follow in plain text. Enjoy! 7. There has been some discussion here at Times and Seasons about the apparent analogies and disanalogies between the nineteenth-century antipolygamy movement and the current battles over same sex marriage. To what extent do you think that cultural and legal strategies employed by antipolygamists are (or are not) available to those who now seek to define marriage as between a man and a woman? I was waiting for this one!
12 Questions for Sarah Barringer Gordon, part one
Without further ado, we are pleased to present Professor Gordon’s responses to questions submitted by the T&S community. Questions are in bold; her preface and responses are in plain text. Look for the second half Friday. (For background on Professor Gordon and her work, click here.) * * * First and most important, I would like to thank Nate Oman, Greg Call and other member of Times and Seasons for your interest in my work and for the opportunity to participate in the forum. I will try to keep my answers short, but the questions you all have posed are challenging (in the best sense of the word) and thought-provoking. I apologize in advance for any long-windedness. Most of all, I look forward to engaging in a dialogue about the meaning and worth of scholarship with a new group of people, and especially to learning from the process. Last, a warning: I am typing my responses on a laptop while traveling in a large van up to Cape Breton Island, Canada, to participate in a relay race on the 185-mile Cabot Trail. Please excuse any and all typos! Here goes. 1. As a non-Mormon who has studied Mormon history, what aspects of the Mormon past do you think are of most interest to the broader, non-Mormon community?
Moroni over Modernism
This may be old news to Manhattanites, but I see that the Church has recently announced that the temple there will be getting a steeple and Moroni. I have somewhat mixed feelings about this. Certainly the changes will help with “branding” (for lack of a better word). But I always liked the building’s fairly pure modernist bent, which blends in well with the surrounding neighborhood (especially Lincoln Center), and has become somewhat rare in Mormondom. Moroni comes, I think, with no small aesthetic cost, but perhaps one worth paying. For more on Mormon architecture and aesthetics, see this thread.
Feminist Agitation, Mormon style
Julie’s post on the daughters of Zelophehad and the ensuing comments reminded me of a story I read in a locally-published book called An Ensign to the Nations: History of the Oakland Stake. It seems that in the late 70s, the Church’s opposition to the ERA caused a bit of an uproar in the Oakland Stake, particularly in the Berkeley ward. During an especially tense period, Paul H. Dunn of the the First Council of the Seventy came to town to speak at a missionary program in the Interstake Center auditorium. Because of previous protests involving the ERA, there was some concern that the gathering (about 4,000 people) would invite further incident. Toward the end of the meeting, two women walked up the side of the aisle, stopped, and waited there until Dunn had finished speaking and the closing hymn was being sung. As the closing hymn continued, the two women approached the stage. It became clear that one was carrying a bag of some sort.
12 Questions for . . . Sarah Barringer Gordon
Just a reminder — please submit questions for Professor Gordon by Monday, May 10. For more information on Professor Gordon, here is an article she wrote in Legal Affairs on polygamy and gay marriage; here is an interview she did on NPR on a similar topic; and here is a Tribune article about a speech she gave at Weber State.
An Open Letter to the Blue Planner
Dear Blue Planner, So it has finally happened. You’ve gone the way of Mr. Brown and projection films. I suppose I knew that someday you’d be gone, but I’d hoped against hope that you were somehow less transient than other proselyting aids that have fallen by the wayside. To me, you were nothing less than the platonic ideal of Planner.